In Illinois, a drug crime is a criminal offense that involves the use, possession, production, or sale of a controlled substance. Due to the problems caused by illegal drugs these offenses are aggressively prosecuted in state and federal court. The State of Illinois is well aware of the large number of drug offenses committed on a daily basis and the violence that often accompanies these offenses. The most common controlled substances in Illinois include, but are not limited to, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, LSD, PCP, and Ecstasy. The severity of the offense for drug crimes generally depends on the type of controlled substance, the amount of the controlled substance, and the activities of the defendant. Due to the serious and severe consequences of being charged with and convicted of a drug offense, the decision to hire a criminal defense attorney can become a life altering decision.
The most common drug crimes in Illinois are listed below, along with a brief summary of what constitutes these charges.
Manufacture/Delivery of Controlled Substances
Controlled substance manufacturing in Illinois involves the production, preparation, or processing of a controlled substance. In fact, you may also be charged with drug manufacturing for simply possessing the chemicals or materials to make certain drugs. The charge of delivery of a controlled substance differs from the charge of possession with intent to distribute in that law enforcement have either witnessed or participated in the sale of the controlled substance. The sale and delivery of controlled substances are felonies, though the severity of penalties may depend on the type of drug involved, where the transaction occurred, and whether someone was injured.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Under Illinois state law, it is illegal to possess any amount of a controlled substance. This also applies to any prescription medication for which you do not have a valid prescription. The penalties for drug possession typically depend on the amount and type of substance involved, but may include prison time, hefty fines, and a lifelong criminal record.
Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver
You will be charged with possession with intent to deliver if you are believed to have drugs that you intend to sell or give to someone else. This type of charge is often made against individuals possessing larger quantities of drugs that would be considered too much for personal consumption. This charge will also be brought against suspects possessing a small amount of a controlled substance that is packaged for individual sale. The charge of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver is a felony and punishable by years of prison time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Possession of a Controlled Substance (720 ILCS 570/402)
Except as otherwise authorized by this Act, it is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess a controlled or counterfeit substance or controlled substance analog. A violation of this Act with respect to each of the controlled substances listed herein constitutes a single and separate violation of this Act.
Possession of any controlled substance with a total weight of less than 15 grams is a Class 4 felony with a penalty of 1-3 years in the Department of Corrections and a possible fine of up to $25,000.
This is a summary of the potential punishments for controlled substance possession of > 15 grams in Illinois.
- 15-99 grams is Class 1 Felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison and a $200,000.00 fine;
- 100-399 grams is Class 1 Felony punishable by 6-30 years in prison and a $200,000.00 fine or the street value, whichever is greater;
- 400-899 grams is Class 1 Felony punishable by 8-40 years in prison and a $200,000.00 fine or the street value, whichever is greater;
- 900 grams or more is Class 1 Felony punishable by 10-50 years in prison and a $200,000.00 fine or the street value, whichever is greater.
Successfully defending a drug charge is a complicated task that involves understanding investigative processes, thorough knowledge of search and seizure laws, and more. An experienced and resourceful Illinois criminal defense attorney will know how to examine every detail of your case and find the facts and evidence that support your story of what happened and use them to present a strong case in your defense.
Prescription fraud is a charge that covers a variety of illegal behaviors related to prescription medication. The most common forms of prescription fraud are altering a prescription, using a forged prescription, stealing blank prescription slips, or seeing multiple doctors for the same prescription. Prescription fraud is charged as a felony, and punishable with fines and up to three years in prison.
In the state of Illinois, the following statutes are the primary laws governing Cannabis and all other Controlled Substances.
Cannabis Control Act (720 ILCS 550/4)
It is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess cannabis. Any person who violates this section with respect to:
(a) not more than 10 grams of any substance containing cannabis is guilty of a civil law violation punishable by a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $200.
(b) more than 10 grams but not more than 30 grams of any substance containing cannabis is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor;
(c) more than 30 grams but not more than 100 grams of any substance containing cannabis is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor; provided, that if any offense under this subsection (c) is a subsequent offense, the offender shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony;
(d) more than 100 grams but not more than 500 grams of any substance containing cannabis is guilty of a Class 4 felony; provided that if any offense under this subsection (d) is a subsequent offense, the offender shall be guilty of a Class 3 felony;
(e) more than 500 grams but not more than 2,000 grams of any substance containing cannabis is guilty of a Class 3 felony;
(f) more than 2,000 grams but not more than 5,000 grams of any substance containing cannabis is guilty of a Class 2 felony;
(g) more than 5,000 grams of any substance containing cannabis is guilty of a Class 1 felony.
Defending Against Drug Charges
Although every case is different, these are some common strategies that might be used to defend an Illinois drug charge:
Investigation errors: It’s not uncommon in drug cases for there to be flaws in how police carried out an investigation. Procedural flaws may result in evidence or testimony being collected in a way that is illegal and violates your constitutional rights. An experienced defense lawyer will evaluate the investigation that led to your drug charge and look for any potential violations of policies, laws, or procedures. If it was a flawed investigation, it may lead to reduced or dropped charges.
Informant credibility: A great defense lawyer will investigate the veracity of any information that an involved confidential informant gave officials and work to uncover any biased motives the informant may have had when providing information to investigators in order to discredit testimony used against you.
Violation of legal rights: A resourceful defense attorney will seek to understand whether a defendant’s legal search and seizure rights were violated during or after an investigation and arrest. When your rights are violated, it may be possible to prevent evidence obtained through illegal means from being used against you in court — which can result in your case being dismissed or your charge or penalties reduced.
Extenuating Circumstances: If there are extenuating circumstances in your case, such as a substance abuse addiction or mental health issue, it may be possible to get you the treatment you need instead of jail or prison time. Other types of extenuating circumstances may lead to your charge being dismissed or reduced.
Controlled substance offenders in the Chicago area are arrested on daily basis for cocaine, heroin, and marijuana possession. Although a conviction for simple drug possession cases may carry what seem to be insignificant penalties, the consequences can be severe and affect you for the rest of your life. Arguably the most destructive penalty of all is the permanent criminal record that will follow a drug conviction. A drug conviction will appear on background tests and screenings for the rest of your life, making it difficult to obtain employment, secure loans, or gain acceptance to a college or university.
If you are facing drug charges in Illinois, you are facing more than just a lengthy prison or jail sentence. Although a defendant may avoid incarceration, they may face heavy fines and a period of probation. The terms of probation can be difficult to comply with and they often include enrollment in counseling and completion of a substance abuse treatment program. Additionally, you could be required to submit to routine chemical tests and sent back to jail for testing positive. As you can see, the consequences for drug crimes are complex and can be a life-long burden.
If you have been charged with a crime related to illegal drugs, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. In the event that you are convicted of a drug charge, there is a possibility that you may have to go to jail. However, your chances of avoiding jail time will increase immensely if you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney like Peter W. Lewis.